Fried Oysters with Chile, Smoked Shrimp, and Peanut Sauce

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors (yellow, orange,green, red, chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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Sauce Azi Dessi:

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1-1/4 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and pureed
2 medium onions, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. minced habanero chile pepper
1 tsp. minced ginger
3 Tbsp. chunky peanut butter
2/3 cup smoked shrimp, very finely minced


1 quart plump oysters, shucked
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. garlic powder
1-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
peanut oil, for frying
lemon wedges, for garnish


To prepare the sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over low heat and add the tomato puree. Saute the tomato puree for about 10 minutes, or until the it thickens slightly.

Add the onions, garlic, habanero chile, and ginger to the skillet and cook an additional 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes. (The sauce can be made a day ahead of time.) Stir in the peanut butter and just before serving add the smoked shrimp and stir well to combine.

To prepare the oysters:

Place the oysters in a resealable plastic bag. Mix the lemon juice with the garlic powder and add this mixture to the oysters, then toss to coat. Allow the oysters to marinate in the lemon-garlic mix for about 15 minutes, then drain and reserve the oysters.

Combine the flour, cayenne, salt and pepper in a paper bag or bowl and shake well to mix.

To cook the oysters:

Just before cooking the oysters, toss them, a few at a time into the bag and shake to ensure complete coating with the flour mixture.

Deep-fry the oysters in 365F oil, in batches, for about 3-4 minutes each, or until they rise to the surface and are golden brown and crisp. Drain the fried oysters on some paper towels and keep them warm until ready to serve.

To serve the oysters:

Serve 4 oysters per person and accompany each serving with a small ramekin of the chile sauce and a lemon wedge.

Recipe from “The Appetizer Atlas: A World of Small Bites” by Arthur L. Meyer and Jon M. Vann, 2003, ISBN: 0-471-41102-7.